National Girl Child Day is celebrated on January 24 every year in India. The day was an initiative of the Ministry of Women and Child Development in 2008. The purpose of this day is to spread awareness about the gender based discriminations that girls face in our society and to bring change in the attitude towards girls.
The day is marked by various events and campaigns on ‘Save the Girl Child’, child sex ratios, and creating a healthy and safe environment for every girl child.
Gender inequality in India
Gender inequality has been a problem in our society and culture for centuries. Gender based discriminations are deeply embedded in the Indian societies through our culture, religion and even through our laws. The discrimination starts even before a girl child is born. Sometimes the girl is killed as a foetus and if she is lucky enough to get out of her mother’s womb, she is killed as an infant. This is the reason why the Child Sex Ratio is skewed in India where for every 1,000 boys, there are only 927 girls, according to the 2011 census.
India is a patriarchal, male dominated society. That is why even after years of education, economic progress, globalisation, girls still face discrimination in different fields such as education, jobs. In many cases, girls are still overlooked when it comes to education because it is thought that a woman’s only role in the society is that of a mother or a wife whose primary role is to look after her family and children.
Indian government has taken several steps over the years to change this and improve the conditions of girls. Several campaigns and programmes such as Save the Girl Child, Beti Bachao Beti Padhao, free or subsidised education for girl child, reservation for women in colleges and universities have been initiated to reduce this discrimination.